I was in the middle of one of the worst times in my life. I cannot divulge the information as to why, although I know that type of mystery is frustrating and I am sorry. This what I can tell you.
I was living in a house with some people in Johannesburg, South Africa and I had a tiff with one of the girls living there. Subsequently I left, and for a day or two while I looked for accommodation, I had no where to stay. Fortunately, a good friend of mine helped me through this time by taking me out and letting me stay at her place for a bit.
Eventually, my parents found another crisis and trauma halfway house where I could stay but it was full. Upon arriving, a lady named Carla met me and she showed me to the only available room in the house. As I approached the room, I immediately became hesitant and nervous and as I stood outside of the room at the doorway, the feelings of dread and worry only increased. I stood at the doorway as though it was NOT my room to enter and relaxed my weight on its frame. I looked at Carla and said, "I... I really don't like this room, I would like to move to another room, please?" I thought she would usher me away to a new room but instead she answered abruptly and sternly, "This is the only room available. If you are planning on staying." Somewhat taken aback, the realization dawned on me that I had to take this room or I would have no place to live. So I picked up my bags, brushed off the uneasy mammoth-size cluster of negative emotions inside my chest and walked into the room placing my bags on the floor.
Every night I would get nervous and I would feel led to stand at the window, half-expecting something terrifying to be outside. We were in a double story house but I could see the street below and sometimes I would imagine the ways that robbers would make their way in and out of this house if they should choose to rob it. (I live in South Africa and there is crime happening in most suburbs).
One night, I couldn't sleep. I was tossing and turning, tense, jittery and unsettled and by the time morning came and the sun rose, I hadn't slept at all. That morning, I ran out to the cafe' down the road from my house and bought a box of cigarettes and one or two treats for myself and headed home. After doing so, getting home and unpacking, I finally felt up to sleeping. I lay on my bed and slept the day through from 09:45 AM to 04:30 PM GMT. As part of the crisis centers rules, you have to attend certain house meetings and do one or two other things in order to establish a working support system when you decide to move home. I woke up because I had to attend a house meeting at 18:00 PM, so I rolled out of bed and grabbed my toiletries and clothes and headed to the bathroom.
When I began to undress to shower, I was shocked at what I uncovered. My entire body was covered in pitiless bruises. I have never been in an abusive relationship but it was what I imagined one felt like to experience. The bruises were barbarous and covered my body in its entirety with the exception of my face. They were varying in sizes from 5cm x 5cm to 20cm and green, purple, yellow and blue. I didn't know how to process what had happened because I had felt nothing when I had been asleep, not a grab, strike or blow. I ran through the activities of a pretty non-eventful day and realized I had not once banged myself or fallen. The bathroom had a mirror so I turned around to inspect my back and other areas which were not visible to me from that angle. What was on my back scared me the most! I had three long gashes/scratches along the back of my back. I inspected them carefully to see if they spelled out a word, but I couldn't make any English word out of it. Instead, it looked closer to mathematics symbols, and I could subtly make a "Y".
Once again, I thought back to the day trying to think of any way I could have done this to myself. There was absolutely no way, I had gone to sleep and when I had awoken, I had these marks on my body.
So, I did something that day, that today I think was incredibly stupid. I kept quiet about it. I dressed, I went to the meeting and I carried on with my day and my life.
About 2 weeks later, when the bruises were almost healed, I showed two of them to Carla. She freaked-out totally just because of the severity of the two marks which were almost healed, actually. She accused my then boyfriend, Jeff, of domestic abuse! She asked, "oh my God! [NAME]! What happened to you? Did Jeff do this to you?! Is he hitting you!? He's hitting you, isn't he? I am going to kill him! I am going to wrap my hands around his throat and make him sorry he was ever born!" I interrupted her, I said, "Carla! Jeff would never hit me, he didn't do this". Jeff doesn't have a history of violence and he's never hurt a fly, but she is convinced to this day that that is what happened.